Update: ‘Design & Platform’ section updated and ‘TopElectricSUV says’ section added.
The next-generation Volvo XC90 may not be the all-new vehicle fans have been waiting for. Rumors about a third-generation model have been swirling for about two years, but the automaker may unveil an improved version of the second-gen model with changes mainly to the styling and interior. Note that we’re speaking about the future of the combustion-powered XC90 and not the all-electric EX90.
In an interview with Autocar in July 2022, Lex Kerssemakers, Senior Advisor – Group Management Team, Volvo Cars, said that when the company introduced the second-gen XC90, it wanted to increase its annual new vehicle sales from around 450,000 units to 800,000 units. The company is close to that goal, selling around 700,000 vehicles annually. In this context, the XC90 is a hugely important car for the company, accounting for a sizeable proportion of its sales and profits. in 2021, it was the third best-selling model with 108,231 units sold.
Design & Platform
The render below is an early interpretation of what the next-generation XC90 might look like. A radical design is unlikely to be on Volvo designers’ minds. The focus would be on retaining the XC90’s silhouette and its distinct design elements that have made the SUV so popular worldwide. Expect to see a new grille, LED headlamps inspired by the Concept Recharge, and mild improvements in other areas.
Hakan Samuelsson, the former President and CEO of Volvo Cars, had hinted that the XC90 will get a second facelift following the first refresh in 2019. Volvo will not need a facelift if an all-new third-gen XC90 is in the pipeline as previously assumed. Samuelsson said that the company would “look into upgrading” the second-gen XC90 so that “it looks a bit better,” Automotive News Europe reported on February 15, 2022. The former company chief had said that demand for hybrid models still exists, especially in the U.S. and China.
Volvo EX90 to be the XC90’s pure-electric alternative
Volvo Cars will launch a new model called ‘Volvo EX90‘ as a pure electric alternative to the XC90. The company is adopting a dual-platform strategy. It is developing the ‘SPA2’ with two unique floor assemblies, one for the hybrid models like the XC90 that partially run on fossil fuel and one for the fully-electric models.
Henrik Green, Chief Technology Officer, Volvo Cars, talked about this platform with Green Car Reports in March 2021. Green said Volvo plans to manufacture the floors in parallel on separate lines, but for the ICE, it may be the current platform (SPA1) integrating a few improvements.
One floor is built around the flat battery with an e-machine in front and rear, very much the skateboard approach that you see pure electric vehicles are built on today. And there is another floor which is completely different, built with a combustion engine in the front, the prop shaft, an exhaust system, a fuel tank in the rear.Henrik Green, Chief Technology Officer, Volvo Cars
From a report teknikensvarld.se published in June 2020, we learned that Volvo would offer the new XC90 in “B” mild-hybrid and “T” plug-in hybrid variants. This lineup is no different from what is available today, and supported by the visual updates, the current vehicle should serve as the classic alternative to the new flagship electric vehicle.
Improved PHEV powertrain
Volvo Cars brought a significant technical revision to the XC90 Recharge this year ahead of the upcoming redesign. The company has updated the SUV’s plug-in hybrid system to produce more power. The 2.0-liter gasoline engine driving the front wheels and the electric motor propelling the rear produced 303 hp and 87 hp. Now, the outputs have increased to 310 hp and 145 hp, respectively. Secondly, Volvo Cars has upgraded the battery pack of the XC90 PHEV, swapping out the 11.6 kWh lithium-ion battery pack for the new 18.6 kWh unit.
The outgoing XC90 Recharge with the 11.1 kWh battery pack could manage an EPA-est. pure electric range of just 18 miles. Thanks to the 18.6 kWh battery pack, the new XC90 is a more practical daily driver, as it can travel up to 35 miles (EPA-est.) in EV mode. The pure electric range of the XC90 Recharge nearly doubled despite the driveline power increasing from 400 hp to 455 hp, thanks to the battery pack upgrade.
New Volvo XC90 Release Date
Volvo Cars could reveal the restyled XC90 in the first half of 2023 (in Europe) and launch it in the U.S. as an MY2024 model. As per an announcement on May 4, 2022 (via media.volvocars.com), Volvo has finalized the MY2023 XC90 for the U.S., offering new colors, wheels, interior options, and Google built-in in the new car range.
Meanwhile, the all-electric EX90 will begin arriving at dealers in 2023. Unlike the XC90, which is shipped from Europe, the new Volvo EV will be made in South Carolina (USA), and many customers could switch to the all-electric equivalent when upgrading.
Volvo Recharge models gain popularity worldwide
Volvo Cars says that the demand for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and pure electric vehicles, which it markets as Recharge models, is rising. Europe, particularly, is accelerating the adoption of Volvo Recharge models. In 2021, Volvo Cars sold 130,557 Recharge vehicles in Europe, compared to 89,951 cars in 2020, marking a growth of 45.1 percent.
Despite a clear push toward electric vehicles, Volvo knows that gas-electric vehicles are still profitable and popular models, and has worked for years to achieve that. With many countries behind the curve on EV adoption, and question marks hanging over the state of the charging infrastructure in the U.S., electrified SUVs have a big part to play this decade as a bridge for customers who are reluctant to go all-electric.
The XC90 should continue being popular with luxury family SUV buyers who seek high value for money, unmatched safety, and a true Scandinavian design. In particular, the XC90 PHEV will help ease customers into transitioning to the EX90.
New Volvo XC90 FAQs
What is the new Volvo XC90 release date?
The improved Volvo XC90 could go on sale in the United States in 2023.
Which models will the new Volvo XC90 compete with?
What will be the new Volvo XC90 price?
Volvo Cars may price the restyled XC90 from around USD 57,000 for the mild-hybrid.
Featured image: TopElectricSUV’s rendition of a refreshed XC90 with the latest design cues.